Building a New Jerusalem: John Davenport, a Puritan in Three Worlds

Building a New Jerusalem: John Davenport, a Puritan in Three Worlds

Francis J. Bremer

Language: English

Pages: 440

ISBN: 0300179138

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


John Davenport, who cofounded the colony of New Haven, has been neglected in studies that view early New England primarily from a Massachusetts viewpoint. Francis J. Bremer restores the clergyman to importance by examining Davenport’s crucial role as an advocate for religious reform in England and the Netherlands before his emigration, his engagement with an international community of scholars and clergy, and his significant contributions to colonial America. Bremer shows that he was in many ways a remarkably progressive leader for his time, with a strong commitment to education for both women and men, a vibrant interest in new science, and a dedication to upholding democratic principles in churches at a time when many other Puritan clergymen were emphasizing the power of their office above all else.

Bremer’s enlightening and accessible biography of an important figure in New England history provides a unique perspective on the seventeenth-century transatlantic Puritan movement.

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a hammer, he being on top of a ladder,” and Davis had his length of servitude reduced.32 When a servant charged that he was being kept beyond his agreed time of service, the court allowed the master to find witnesses to defend his practice but to pay the servant for any time beyond his agreed service if no such witnesses could be found.33 Puritans had no prohibitions regarding drinking alcoholic beverages; indeed, like most Englishmen in an age when water was contaminated by waste and milk was

Massachusetts line to Long Island, with an eastern border on Narragansett Bay and a western domain extending to the Pacific Ocean. On May 8, 1662, Winthrop was seeking information on passage to America, planning to return triumphantly to the colony. In June one of Davenport’s correspondents wrote that he did not, in his “small judgment, perceive any great fear of alteration of our government and old patent, & the rather because Mr. John Winthrop, agent for Connecticut and New Haven, hath gotten a

declared themselves opposite to my coming to you,” he urged that they “let nothing be done through strife and vainglory, and that there be no schism amongst you for my sake, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment, striving together for the faith of the Gospel and for the holy order wherein Christ hath appointed his church for to walk.”48 On this occasion, his irenic efforts would fail, and his own actions at least contributed to that failure.

the daughter of a Dutch merchant in London who was a member of the Dutch congregation in the city.52 He had initially pursued a military career, which led to service in the Netherlands and his appointment as governor of the Brill. It was there that his daughter Brilliana was born, and there that he formed a friendship with his fellow officer, Sir Horace Vere. In 1607 Vere married Conway’s sister Mary. After service as an ambassador to Brussels and Prague, Conway was named to the king’s privy

discipline and order of the Church of England.”38 Peter and Davenport asserted that theirs was the true English Church in the city, and that claim was for a time at least recognized by the Dutch officials. The stipulation that the new English Church in Rotterdam comply with the orders of the Church of England was one consequence of the campaign waged by the English Privy Council to force all army chaplains and English and Scottish ministers to other British congregations to conform to the

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